PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – There are just sometimes in games you see something new. On Tuesday the Pirates lost to Texas 6-1 on a complete game, six-hitter by Nathan Eovaldi. The loss, or even the complete game in itself wasn’t unique, but the Pirates giving up a pair of runs on balk calls?
The first came in the first inning with the Rangers jumping out to a 1-0 lead after a Marcus Semien hit that was misplayed by centerfielder Jack Suwinski into a triple. Suwinski said became it was a perfect storm as he looked up for the line drive, he lost the ball in the sun just as it came through the top of the ballpark. He said he hasn’t had many balls like that since playing center.
Rangers’ Corey Seager would single home Semien and then Seager would eventually score on a Rich Hill balk. Josh Jung would score another run on a balk by Jose Hernandez in the sixth inning.
“I don’t know,” Shelton said of why the balk calls. “He said on the first one that Rich didn’t stop. On the second one, I was surprised the home plate umpire would call it from that angle. Normally if that gets called, it gets called from the first base umpire.”
He was an early catalyst for the Pirates, lately it’s been a struggle for rookie Ji Hwan Bae. The left-handed hitter had 11 steals with only one caught stealing through May 4. Since, one stolen base and caught four times. On Tuesday, Bae was picked off first base after a leadoff single in the third and then strayed too far off second base and picked off as the right fielder threw behind him at second base following an Andrew McCutchen single and he was the third out in the eighth.
"I think the biggest homework for me right now is really just reading the situation of the game and using when to know when to use my speed and when to not,” Bae said through interpreter Daniel Park. “When I look at the score, and when we're losing, I definitely want to help my teammates, so I feel like I'm doing a little bit too much.”
“He needs to slow down a little bit,” Shelton said. “Right now he’s going a little fast. You see young players that have speed, you see at times they try to create things instead of letting things come to him. Right now, he’s probably trying to do too much. The weapon he has is a true weapon, but if you use it recklessly then you run into outs.
We can’t have that.”
The one thing you learn quickly with veteran pitcher Rich Hill, he will own losses. That was the same tonight, even though he struck out nine over 5.1 innings. He gave up five runs.
“You can look at strikeouts, but at the end of the day it’s a score,” Hill said. “Coming out of the game in a 4-1 deficit late in the game, that’s not putting us in a position to win. If you want to look at it as a good outing, fair outing or however. In my opinion, that’s not a championship mindset. You got to hold yourself to a higher standard and you have to be able to execute pitches throughout the entire game and give the team an opportunity to win.”
Pirates AAA catcher Endy Rodriguez had a pair of hits on Tuesday, both doubles. The Honus Wagner Player of the Year has multiple hits in two of his last four games with three doubles and a triple.
After a professional career-best season in 2022, Jacob Gonzalez hit a two-run homer for AA Altoona extending his hitting streak to six games. The right-handed hitting infielder, and son of Luis Gonzalez, is batting .253 with 3 HR and 13 RBI in his first games at AA. Between low and high A last season, the 24-year-old hit .305/.377 OBP with 24 doubles, 13 home runs and 61 RBI.
Class A righty
21-year-old Po-Yu Chen out of Taiwan threw a second consecutive solid start for High A Greensboro on Tuesday. In his last two starts, the 6’2” right-hander has pitched 11 innings giving up two earned runs with 14 strikeouts and two walks.
In four of his eight starts this year, Chen has given up only one earned run.
In the other four, 17 runs.
Afternoon baseball on 100.1 FM and AM 1020 KDKA as the homestand ends at 12:35 with LHP Martin Perez (5-1, 4.01 ERA) against RHP Johan Oviedo (3-3, 4.69 ERA). Jose Rowntree has the North Shore Tavern Leadoff Show at 11:35a.